‘Tis the SEAson in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands

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The holidays are here again, and it’s time to get in the festive spirit – what better way than with an island getaway? In North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands, a white Christmas has a whole new meaning when you get the beaches’ pristine sand between your toes and take in the sound of the ocean waves. It truly is the most wonderful time of the year with both sunrises and sunsets over the blue water.

For a twist on your holiday, head to North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands and make new memories and traditions with loved ones. These seasonal events and experiences are a must-add to your holiday wish list.

Replace Gingerbread Houses with Sandcastles

img_6632Forget the messy icing and sticky candy, and create your mansion masterpiece with powdery sand and decorative seashells. Enjoy the mild weather and spend your holiday break on the beach with stress-free access from a beachfront rental home with plenty of space for the extended family.

Shop Coastal

From The Christmas House in Southport to St. Nick Nacks Christmas Shop in Callahan’s of Calabash, you can find Christmas ornaments and mementos for everyone, all while enjoying the scenic coastal towns of the Brunswick Islands.  You can also find countless unique gifts with a coastal theme in the many gift shops and art galleries located throughout the island and inland communities.  Or for the golfer in the family, try the well-stocked pro shops at the over 30 golf courses in the Brunswick Islands.

Upcoming Holiday Events:

Southport Winterfest
Friday, December 2nd – Sunday, December 11th

img_2480-wmHistoric Southport goes big for the holidays with its 10-day Winterfest celebration, featuring a range of events and activities for the whole family. The schedule starts off the weekend of December 2nd with the Christmas in Song event, followed by the Tree Lighting Ceremony in Franklin Square Park on December 3rd. The week’s activities include the Annual Cookie Contest, Costumed Holiday Tour, Winter Craft Festival, Historic Home Tours and much more. For the full schedule, visit http://www.ncbrunswick.com/event/644.


Oak Island Christmas by the Sea Parade

Saturday, December 3rd

In a celebration of the wonderful weather and the holidays, the Christmas by the Sea Parade steps off at 2:00 p.m. and invites spectators to enjoy floats with festive decorations traveling 2.4 miles through Oak Island. Awards will be given to the floats based on color, the best theme, overall beauty and originality. http://www.ncbrunswick.com/event/202


North Carolina Christmas Festival and Parade

Saturday, December 10th

The 24th annual North Carolina Christmas Festival and Parade will take place at Leland Town Hall Park with the goal of inspiring unity within the local towns and communities, and providing family fun to all! The parade kicks off at 10:00 a.m. with the festival beginning immediately after at 12:00 p.m. The event will feature craft and food vendors, along with children’s entertainment, and music and dance performances to celebrate the season. http://www.ncbrunswick.com/event/542


Southport Christmas Flotilla
Saturday, December 10th

img_9316-fb-southport_tonemappedSpectators can cheer on their favorite vessel illuminated in twinkling Christmas lights as the boats travel upriver to Kingsley Park beginning at 7:00 p.m. Boats will illuminate the night all the way “From the North Pole to Southport.” Awards will be given at the end of the evening to vessels with the most creativity and variety of decorations. http://www.ncbrunswick.com/event/279

For a complete list of events and to plan your holiday getaway to North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands, visit www.NCBrunswick.com.

Discover the Museums of North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands

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Beyond the beautiful beach scenery, the Brunswick Islands hold a rich history, which guests can experience with a visit to the area’s museums. With history dating as far back as the colonial times and tales of pirates, visitors can explore the fascinating, in-depth past of the islands and coastal communities. Not only does the Brunswick Islands offer a great place for visitors to enjoy the beaches and sunshine, but a trip to coast can also be educational! Be sure to add these museums to your Brunswick Islands itinerary:

Fort Johnston – Southport Museum & Visitors Center:

Fort Johnston in Southport was built by the British in 1748. The fort was used to protect the region from the Spanish and French attacks during King George’s War. It served as the oldest active-duty fort in the United States after 250 years of federal service and was conveyed to the city of Southport in 2006. Today, visitors can explore the museum with an official tour guide or take a self-guided tour. Don’t miss the Safe Haven exhibit with memorabilia from when the movie was filmed in Southport. fort-johnston

Ingram Planetarium:

Visitors looking for more of an out-of-this-world museum experience can check out the Ingram Planetarium in Sunset Beach. This state-of-the-art planetarium has an 85-seat SciDome Sky Theater with high definition digital protection and surround-sound system. The theater shows educational programs about space exploration and astronomy, along with laser music shows. Explore the interactive exhibits in the Paul Dennis Science Hall for fun, hands-on learning. dsc_9509_sunset-beach_planitarium_lr

Museum of Coastal Carolina:

The Museum of Coastal Carolina on Ocean Isle Beach is North Carolina’s only natural history museum located on a barrier island. The museum showcases the unique coastal ecosystem of the Brunswick Islands and features the Southeast’s largest dry aquarium, collections of sea shells, shark jaws, wildlife dioramas and a Touch Tank with live sea stars, sea urchins and other animals. Young explorers will also love digging in the fossil pit for shark teeth. dsc_0010_oib_touch-tank_wm

North Carolina Maritime Museum at Southport:

The North Carolina Maritime Museum at Southport tells the story of the Cape Fear region and the people of its past and present. Exhibits provide a detailed history of pirates, shipwrecks, and the area’s extensive nautical history. The museum offers educational programs for both children and adults, making it enjoyable for all ages.mmsign

Old Brunswick County Jail Museum:

The Old Brunswick County Jail, built in 1904, has been maintained to keep its original form and serves as a museum open to the public. The two-story jail, which was used until 1971 before a new jail was constructed, has a runabout and two cells, which visitors can view on guided or self-guided tours. Visitors can also take a glimpse of the graffiti drawn by prisoners on the second floor. img_0523

Sunset Beach Swing Bridge & Museum:

The historic Sunset Beach swing bridge and tender house that linked the island to the mainland from 1958-2011, now rests in an area shaded by oak trees to serve as a museum and public gathering place. Locals thought that they would be saying goodbye to the swing bridge, but volunteers and the Old Bridge Preservative Society saved it from demolition. The tender house is now open to visitors and displays artifacts from the Blockade Runner Vesta, which ran aground on Sunset Beach. old-sb-bridge-horizontal-2

Brunswick Town/Fort Anderson Historic Site:

Brunswick Town was a pre-Revolutionary port located on the Cape Fear River that was destroyed by British Troops in 1776 and never rebuilt. Fort Anderson was constructed during the Civil War at the same site as the old village to defend the river and north toward Wilmington. What remains of Brunswick Town and the fort is now one of North Carolina’s historic sites and a working archaeological site. Visitors can view displays and audiovisuals about its history, as well as explore outdoor trails along the ruins of the fort.img_5863_tonemapped

Smith Island Museum of History:

Smith Island Museum of History is located on the grounds of Old Baldy Lighthouse on Bald Head Island and is a replica of an 1850s lighthouse keeper’s cottage.img_3467

When planning your visit to the museums in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands, be sure to check the hours, which vary by season. To learn more, visit http://www.ncbrunswick.com/fun_and_adventure/heritage_museums.

Celebrate Thanksgiving in the Brunswick Islands

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Create new traditions this Thanksgiving and replace turkey with fresh seafood and changing leaves with changing tides. Thanksgiving in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands is guaranteed to be a holiday to remember with endless opportunities for quality family time without the usual holiday chaos. Who needs football when you can watch the sunset over the ocean before a post-dinner nap? (OK, some of you may still want to enjoy watching football in your spacious beach rental).

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img_1947The Brunswick Islands offer activities for all ages and interests with outdoor adventures to explore, local shops to browse, history to discover and much more. The destination is also home to a range of beachfront rental homes, ideal for families of all sizes, with spacious kitchens and plenty of room to celebrate the holiday with stunning coastal views.

For those looking to enjoy a Thanksgiving feast without the stress of cooking, you’ll find a range of unique restaurants in the Brunswick Islands from traditional Calabash style and fresh-caught seafood to international flavors and casual American fare, several with waterfront dining.  And yes, some restaurants will also be serving traditional Thanksgiving fare.

After a day of thanks, find your Christmas cheer with holiday events, perfect for continuing the fun through the long weekend:

Ocean Isle Beach Christmas Parade & Tree Lighting
Friday, November 25th and Saturday, November 26th

The seaside celebration begins with the Tree Lighting on the Causeway on Friday at 5:00 p.m. where attendees are invited to bring their best singing voices and holiday cheer, complete with hot cocoa, coffee and other goodies. The fun continues Saturday with the Christmas Parade from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m., where spectators can view golf carts and other vehicles dressed up for the season, decked with lights, tinsel and garland. Santa will also be awaiting visitors at the Ocean Isle Beach Fire Department beginning at 4:30 p.m. http://www.ncbrunswick.com/event/360

Ocean Isle Beach Flotilla
Saturday, November 26th

Take the Christmas celebration dockside to view boats of all sizes dressed up for the holidays. Beginning at 5:30 p.m., spectators can view twinkling Christmas lights in this dazzling over-water parade on the Intracoastal Waterway. From illuminated snowmen to fishing Santas surrounded by festive palm trees, this is a not-to-be-missed beach tradition. Parade judging and an after party will follow at local favorite Sharky’s Restaurant. http://www.ncbrunswick.com/event/499

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Step away from the holiday stress this year and spend time with family with the ocean as your backdrop – you’ll be thankful you did! To learn more about planning your Thanksgiving beach getaway, visit www.NCBrunswick.com.

Get a Bird’s-Eye View of the Brunswick Islands

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Even with the fall weather setting in, travelers can still enjoy outdoor activities in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands with attractions that make the destination a perfect year-round vacation spot.

Find a new perspective on your next visit and get a bird’s-eye view of the Brunswick Islands by zipping, climbing or flying to great heights with spectacular sights.

Zipline Through the Canopies

DCIM100GOPROG0100475.It doesn’t have to be summer to explore the treetops by zipline! Soar through the 100-year-old cypress trees with zipline tours at Shallotte River Swamp Park and spot deer, raccoons, wild boar and more in the natural swamp habitat. Shallotte River Swamp Park is open year-round where you can get your fill of fun with 10 zipline stations including 1.25 miles of zipline cable, along with 53 different challenge elements in the aerial adventure park.

Climb Through History

DSC_7902_LRLooking for a middle ground between a high-flying adventure and grounded escape? The Brunswick Islands are home to both the oldest standing lighthouse and the last lighthouse built in North Carolina, and you can climb to the top of both for 360-degree views of the Carolina coast. Essential to the area’s history, Old Baldy on Bald Head Island is 110 feet tall and turns 200 years old in 2017. Completed in 1958, the Oak Island Lighthouse on Caswell Beach is the state’s newest lighthouse and invites visitors to climb 131 steps to the top with a series of ship ladders – a truly unique experience!

 

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Fly Through the Sky

DSC_0239_BaldHead_Aerial_hiBoost your adrenaline even more and hop into a helicopter or plane for breathtaking views of the Brunswick Islands. Take an amazing aerial tour by helicopter with Ocean Isle Beach Helicopter Tours or High Tide Helicopters. If you’re more into DIY, take adventure into your own hands by learning to pilot a helicopter with High Tide Helicopters’ professional flight instructors on a Discovery Flight. Suncoast Aviation offers open cockpit biplane rides, perfect for a scenic flight for two. Or design a custom tour with Brunswick Air.

To learn more and plan your high-flying adventure in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands, visit http://www.ncbrunswick.com/fun_and_adventure/attractions.

Five Reasons to “Fall” for the Brunswick Islands

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North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands has something for everyone this fall. Throughout the season, enjoy the many activities and mild weather with peaceful beaches and seasonal events. Rest up before the holidays and relax with these five reasons to “fall” for the Brunswick Islands!

Soak Up Some Sun

IMG_0148During fall in the Brunswick Islands, you’ll enjoy temperatures in the 70s throughout October and upper 60s in November with water temperatures at an average of 77 degrees in October and 70 degrees in November. You don’t have to say goodbye to beach time just because it’s fall – the Brunswick Islands’ mild temperatures make it a perfect time for a coastal getaway.

Experience a Weather Wonder

IMG_0748 surf fishing at sunset Caswell BeachFall through early spring, beach-goers can take in both sunrises and sunsets over the ocean, thanks to the Brunswick Islands’ unique south-facing beaches and the angle of the sun this time of year. Enjoy this bucket list activity, all without moving your beach chair!

More Beach for your Blanket

One of the many perks of the Brunswick Islands during the fall is the peaceful beaches. With the kids back to school and holiday prep underway, this is the perfect time to get away. Explore the piers, beaches and other attractions with spectacular deals on lodging! Throughout fall, visitors will see rates on rental homes (even beachfront!) continue to decrease, making for an even more affordable stay.

Celebrate the Season

There are plenty of special events happening in the Brunswick Islands this fall for visitors of all ages to enjoy.

For some spooky fun, come out to the Holden Beach Pavilion on October 21 for Boo at the Beach. The Halloween Festivities include booths with carnival games and a costume contest!

IMG_0168 event collectionOctober 29 and 30 marks the North Carolina Festival by the Sea. The free, 2-day event kicks off with a parade down the Holden Beach causeway. Entertainment for kids includes face painting, a costume contest, as well as rides and amusements. There will also be live music and food.

To learn more about upcoming events in the Brunswick Islands, visit www.ncbrunswick.com/events.

Rest Up Before the Holidays

IMG_7633With the hectic holiday season just around the corner, visitors can take one last moment of peace on the beach in the Brunswick Islands. With ideal weather, no crowds, great lodging deals and plenty of entertainment, fall is the perfect time for a pre-holiday getaway!

For more information about booking your fall getaway to North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands, visit www.NCBrunswick.com.